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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Alarms

  • Video: Preventing False Alarms

PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU ALARMS UNIT 

Phone: 503-823-0031
Fax: 503-823-0507
alarms@portlandoregon.gov

PO BOX, 1867
PORTLAND, OR 97207-1867

 

Online Alarm Payments

We are now offering a secure online payment option!  

Please visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/alarmpayments/to take advantage of this convenient service. You will need your alarm permit number and invoice number in order to make a payment. 

What is a false alarm? 

A false alarm means police responded to an alarm incident and found no reasonable evidence of a crime, attempted crime, or suspicious activity.  A false alarm can also be the result of mechanical failure, improper installation or maintenance, or alarm user negligence.  

False alarm prevention

False alarm response is very costly and dangerous because it diverts police officers from community policing and crime prevention efforts.  However, there are steps you can take to prevent unwanted alarm activations. For example, multiple zone triggers is a great tool for reducing false alarms. This means your alarm company will only contact police if more than one device (such as a motion sensor, door sensor, window sensor, etc.) is activated instead of just one. If you are concerned about preventing false alarms in your home, contact your alarm company and ask them about setting up multiple zone triggers for your alarm system.

How big is the alarm epidemic? 

Every year, the Portland Police Bureau responds to thousands of false alarms within our community.  Last year we responded to thousands of false alarms, tying up valuable resources.

Major causes of false alarms

  • Door / window not properly closed
  • Kids, neighbors, relatives, visitors, repair workers
  • Cleaning crews
  • Pets
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Accidental activation by property owner

As the alarm user, it is your responsibility to make sure your equipment is in working order, and to ensure that all staff and individuals who have access to your alarm system are properly trained on how to use it.  This can be as simple as performing routine maintenance on your equipment, keeping motion sensors clear, and checking the alarm system battery to avoid system malfunctions.    


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Do I need a permit if I live in the City of Portland?
A. Yes, but please check www.portlandmaps.com 
to see if you are in the Portland Police Bureau’s jurisdiction. Once you type your address into the search, under “Jurisdiction”, it should say Portland/Multnomah. If it doesn’t, you will need to contact the law enforcement agency for the jurisdiction listed, ie. “Gresham / Multnomah” is Multnomah County Sheriff, “Unincorporated / Washington” is Washington County Sheriff. *Please see the list of nearby county jurisdictions below.

Q. How do I get a permit?
A. Fill out either a residential or commercial application and submit payment using check or credit card. At this time we do not have online pay but plan to have this option in the future.  Keep in mind that you can arrange automatic payments through your bank.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH! 

Q. How often do I have to renew my permit?
A.
The day that we process your application will be your “Permit Year” renewal date. Every year, approximately 4-6 weeks before that expiration date we will send you a renewal notice. 

Q. Can I just use the application that came in the box with my security system I bought at the store, online, or from my alarm installer?
A.
To save time, energy and money, it is always best to go to the Portland Police Bureau website to download the most current application. (IF you are in the PPB jurisdiction – always check that first!) If we do not receive the most current application, we will send it back to you. If it is not filled out completely, signed and dated, we will send it back to you. You may incur late fees for the delays in this process. You have 30 days from the time your system is installed in which to obtain a permit. Any alarm user who fails to register their alarm system within the 30 day time frame will be assessed a $100 fine.

Q. How much does a permit cost?
A. Commercial Permits: $125/year; Residential Permits: $25/year; Senior Permits: free for people aged 62 or older, who live at the same address 12 months/year and provide us with a copy of their Oregon State ID or Oregon Driver’s License with the same address they are applying for on the ID for proof of age and residency. We do not accept Passports or out of state driver’s license as they do not provide proof of residency.

Q. Can you bill me if I am applying for a new permit?
A.
Yes. We will send you an invoice for the amount due if we receive an application without payment. Just be sure to get payment to us before the 30 days is up or you may be subject to fines or late fees.

Q. Senior Permits – If someone younger than 62 lives in the household do we have to pay for a permit?
A.
No. Not if the senior over 62 provides us with a copy of their Oregon State ID or Driver’s License with the same address they are applying for on the ID for proof of age and residency and lives at the same address 12 months/year. However, if the senior moves from the home, the permit does not transfer ownership and a new application must be submitted within 30 days of the senior moving.

Q. What is the best way to request a late fee be waived?
A.
You may request to have a late fee waived one (1) time only during the entire lifetime of your permit. In order to avoid being late on your payments, it is best to write on a calendar the date your permit expires and send us a payment at least 2-3 weeks before that date. The quickest way to find out if you have already had a late fee waived, send us an email. (See contact info below)

Q. How long after my alarm system is installed do I have until I am required to have a permit?
A.
It is best to get your application submitted as soon as possible so that your information can get connected to the 911 database. Chapter 14B.10 of the City Ordinance on Burglary & Alarm Systems states that you have 30 days in which to obtain a permit for your alarm system. However, some alarm companies will not allow you to begin using your system until you provide them with the permit number from the Portland Police Bureau. Once you receive your permit in the mail, be sure to inform your alarm company of your permit number.

Q. What if I move or if I close my business?
A. None of the permits are transferrable. If you move or sell your business, call our office, 503-823-0031, to have your permit cancelled so you are not responsible for that location any longer. Also, be sure to let your alarm company know you plan to move. Your alarm company does not alert the Police Bureau when you cancel your account with them. You must contact each separately. The same applies with Senior permits, they are not transferrable. If the senior moves, they must apply for a new permit in their new home. The new occupants must apply for a new permit if the alarm system is still in the home and plugged into electricity.

Q. Do you pro-rate payments on permits?
A.
Only if you have paid for your permit within the last 30 days. You will still need to cancel your old permit and submit a new application for a new permit.

Q. If I discontinue my service with my alarm company, do they notify the Police that I have cancelled my service?
A.
No. The alarm companies are completely separate from the Portland Police Bureau. You must notify us both individually. Also, if you have no alarm monitoring company, but still have your alarm system plugged into electricity in your home, you are still required to have a permit with the Portland Police Bureau.

Q. Can you recommend an alarm company?
A.
The Portland Police Bureau’s Alarm Administration cannot show favoritism to any one alarm company. We can however, direct you to the Oregon Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (OBFAA) to help you answer questions about alarms systems.

Q. How can I contact you?
A.
You can Call: 503-823-0031 Mon-Fri 8:00am – 4:00pm; FAX: 503-823-0507; Email: Alarms@PortlandOregon.gov ; or Write: Portland Police Alarm Administration, PO Box 1867, Portland, OR 97207-1867. We do not have an office for public access.

Q. How can I appeal an alarm incident?
A. Please submit an appeal in written form to the Alarm Program Coordinator either via email, alarms@portlandoregon.gov or through US Mail, PO BOX 1867 Portland, Oregon 97207.  The appeal should include your location address, your permit number and contact information.  Please read the false alarm definition to see if your alarm incident was either valid or false.  Please allow two weeks for the appeal to be reviewed and processed.   

 

Nearby Jurisdictions:


Online Alarm Payments

You will need your alarm permit number and invoice number.

False Alarm Prevention At Home

Does YOUR Home Security System Cry Wolf?

False Alarm Prevention For Businesses

What Do False Alarms Cost YOUR Business?

Alarm Reinstatement Form

Use this form to reinstate a suspended alarm permit.

False Alarm Prevention Guides

Specific Information for Banks, Schools, Churches, and Government Alarm Systems.